Man Behind the Metal: Kunio Okawara

The O-47 is a new vehicle launching soon in World of Tanks Blitz, and is designed by legendary Japanese artist Kunio Okawara. If you’re curious about the man behind the metal, read on!

Okawara wasn’t expecting to design robots for a living when he first applied for a job at animation studio Tatsunoko -- he was simply looking for a job closer to his wife's family. He started at the studio by painting backgrounds, but soon moved up to doing mechanical designs for a hot new sci-fi show named Gatchaman (known as Battle of the Planets overseas).The rest, as they say, is history.

Okawara had an interest in creating real, tangible objects, so he imbued a sense of physicality in his designs for the robots, planes, and tanks of the 1979 anime classic Mobile Suit Gundam. His career spans four decades, with work in TV, film, and video games, while his art has been shown in museums, and, in fact, statues -- a giant, 1:1 scale replica of his iconic RX-78 Gundam design is a major tourist attraction in Tokyo.

The samurai-influenced Gundam mecha became one of the most iconic designs in sci-fi history, spurring decades of "Gundam" anime sequels, and influencing artists around the world. His designs for Fang of the Sun Dougram were used in the game franchise Battletech, while his work on Armored Trooper VOTOMS directly inspired the Heavy Gear franchise. Nissan, Mitsubishi and Isuzu have all looked to Gundam for inspiration in designing real-life cars (notably the Nissan GT-R), and recent films like Pacific Rim continue to draw inspiration from Okawara’s work.

The work of Okawara, and its enduring popularity, are reminders that great design can transcend boundaries. We’re thrilled to have Kunio Okawara’s O-47 tank join the ranks of World of Tanks Blitz. Soon, you can add it to your Garage!

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